tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC January 3, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight on "world news" -- video scandal. the navy commander with those comedy tapes featuring sexual content and gay slurs. tonight, his sailors are lining up to try to save his job. finding cancer. the powerful new test that can spot a single cancer cell hidden in a billion healthy ones. dr. richard besser is here. tea time. the tea party mavericks gunning to overturn health care reform. and out of the blue. new theories about why thousands of birds plunged from the sky, their bodies blanketing a small town.
good evening. it's great to be back with you in this new year. we begin with one of america's great warships, one of the navy's most powerful commanders caught in a scandal that's growing like an ocean tidal wave tonight. we learn new details about what the navy calls clearly inappropriate video shown to 6,000 sailors aboard a giant nuclear powered aircraft carrier. martha raddatz has been looking into those tapes, the man who made them and the debate over their content and his career. >> reporter: the key thing to remember about these videos is they were not done by young sailors as a way to let off steam. the videos featured the man who now commands that nuclear powered aircraft carrier, videos which were made while the "enterprise" was supporting combat operations in iraq and afghanistan. meet captain owen p. honors. decorated top gun pilot. naval academy graduate. and one of only 11 officers in
the u.s. navy who commands an aircraft carrier. but probably not for long. this is captain honors on the videos he broadcast for his 6,000 sailors as part of movie night in 2006 and 2007, jokingly revealing sexually suggestive staged scenes between two women and two men and that is not the half of it. the captain fakes a sexual scene with himself. let's loose a series of "f" words. >> you [ bleep ]. >> see, you [ bleep ] there didn't you? >> reporter: and in this scene where he plays all three characters, including the surface warfare officer or s.w.o., he reportedly uses gay slurs. there are incredibly gross toilet jokes and scenes making fun of rectal exams. >> it's clearly inappropriate
for somebody of that position, representative of the commanding officer to be, using those words, making jokes such as those or participating in anything like that. >> reporter: the virginia pilot newspaper, which obtained the "enterprise" video says that sailors who complained at the time were simply brushed off. >> i've gotten several complaints about inappropriate material. >> reporter: and yet on facebook today, more than 1,000 people supported captain honors just like they did at his home port. >> i did not find them offensive in any way. i felt like he was doing it just to boost ship's morale and that was it. >> reporter: ward carroll, who was an instructor with honors, says he understands why his crew supports him. >> he's a fantastic guy. he's a community icon in the f-14 community, known for his professionalism in the airplane and his ja what da veev out of the airport. >> reporter: as much as he had personal regard for honors,
carroll does not hesitate to say what honors did was wrong. >> there's no doubt that he was way over the line in terms of the language used, in terms of the atmosphere created, in terms of the, you know, the humor. >> reporter: the "enterprise" is supposed to set sail in a few weeks but it is doubtful captain honors will be on board, diane. >> we heard him say an icon, fantastic, any more insight at the pentagon into what he was thinking? >> reporter: well, i think he was probably trying to reach out to these young enlisted sailors but they said he just did it in the wrong way. he is supposed to be a commander, not a comedian. >> what a story to begin this new year. thank you, martha raddatz. after that long election, tonight it is happening. the republicans are coming to washington to take control of the house in two days. and they have just announced their very first vote will be an effort to repeal president obama's health care reform. john karl reports in tonight.
john, is it going to happen? can they do it? >> reporter: it's going to be virtually impossible for them to repeal the entire bill. but many of these new republicans won election by promising to repeal health care reform so there's little doubt about how they will vote on this. even if they are just today getting a first look at their new offices. it's moving day for the new congress. we asked several of them to document their journeys to washington. republican frank ginta bid farewell to his family in new hampshire. paul gosarr, dentist and soon to be congressman, shot this video. >> it's freezing. >> white house, here we come. >> reporter: jamie who drove all the way from her washington state district, was nearly derailed by snowstorms. >> we better get moving so we can make it across the interstate before it closes. >> reporter: the interstate did close but she made it, arriving
today for her first visit to her new office. >> this is the reception area. >> reporter: it's the largest influx of new members of congress in nearly 20 years. 94 house freshmen. 85 republicans. just 9 democrats. and at least 35 of them have never in their lives held elected office. like pizza man bobby schilling who spent one last night working at his pizzeria in moline, illinois. >> never been served by a member of congress before, have you? >> reporter: back at the house this morning, a frenzy of activity as the schillings, including all ten kids, aged 24 to 11 months, get packed up for the flight to washington. >> it's going to be our big day isn't it? >> reporter: one big question -- >> maybe it's going to come out. >> reporter: will 5-year-old sam's tooth survive the trip. today, as the clan arrived at the airport, one more speech
from dad. >> we're here to fight. we're here to get this thing back on track. where it needs to be so our kids and our grandkids have the same opportunities that were afforded to us. >> reporter: the health care reform repeal vote will be the first major vote for the new congress but, diane, these new freshmen, the entire congress, will soon be in the midst of a much bigger and higher stakes battle over the funding of the government itself. >> from pizza to political power. let us know about the tooth. >> reporter: you got it. >> thanks, john. we turn next to news about cancer and a future in which the possibility is there will be a simple test that can scan a billion healthy cells and find one cancer cell lurking among them. dr. richard besser on the promise this holds. >> reporter: the new test promises to detect the smallest traces of cancer in your body. when a tumor is growing, it releases cancer cells into your blood. the challenge is to find those rare cells. >> for every one tumor cell in the blood, there's over 1
billion normal blood cells in the circulation. that's the big challenge of developing a test that can pull out 1 in 1 billion cells. >> reporter: the patient's blood is run across a special microchip covered with tiny brifts treated with a blew that binds to cancer cells. the cancer cells stick while the healthy cells pass on through. in the future, how might this be used? >> the hope is by measuring the numbers of cells, we can have a better krens as to whether the treatments are effective or not. >> reporter: today, the treated tumor and then sometimes it's not until a month later a biopsy reveals whether that treatment is working. critical time. the hope is that this new blood test will allow your doctor to see how your treatment is working right away. this person is in a clinical trial using the new technology. >> this would really allow more prompt response and for me that would -- that could make all the difference in the world. >> reporter: john soon johnson
and the stand- up to cancer fund-raising effort are providing $30 million towards this new research. could a blood test be used to detect if you have cancer in the first place? the research isn't there now. some fear such a test may detect cancer cells that our bodies are capable of fighting without dangerous surgery or chemotherapy. >> we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are dormant and not really causing any problem. what we have to be careful of with this new technique is overtreating the dormant cells that are never going to give us any problem in an attempt to get every cell we can see. >> richard's here now. rich, that's the question, one cell out of billions of cells. what would you ever do if you took this test? >> well, you know, that's not what it's being used for now. it's being used in people who have cancer to help guide their treatment and see if that treatment is working. the hope is one day they will be able to do a blood test and tell you where that one cancer cell can cause problems but we are so far from that right now. >> but do you really think there
will ultimately be a way that a blood test can tell you if you have the one cell you've got to act on right now? >> i think so. by looking at the genetics of that cell. i think one day we're going to be there. but nowhere near there right now. >> all right, rich besser reporting tonight. happy new year to you. quite a mess out west today. look at the picture. snow on the palm trees in las vegas. rare flurries. all part of a brand-new storm slamming california. hundreds of drivers were stranded when blizzard conditions shut down a 30-mile stretch of interstate 5, about an hour north of los angeles, yesterday. many spent hours just inching forward a couple of miles. some slept in their cars. the interstate finally reopened this afternoon. and facebook got a new friend today. a very rich, very powerful friend, banking giant goldman sachs putting $500 billion into facebook. in a deal that figures facebook's value is a whopping $50 billion.
so what does all this say about facebook and a kind of social world domination? david muir is here tonight. david. >> reporter: diane, the numbers we already knew were staggering. now nearly 600 million people on facebook. more internet hits on facebook last year than any other site. that includes google. tonight, the biggest number of all. just how much facebook is worth. it's found more than goldman sachs simply liking facebook. reported $500 million just for a sliver of facebook. a social network reportedly now valued at $50 billion. until today, we had no idea it had reached this. >> $50 billion is a major milestone for facebook. investors are trying to get in because of the potential that facebook represents. >> reporter: attaching a price tag, a value to facebook, has been nearly impossible. it's not publicly traded. as for how much the 26-year-old founder, mark zuckerberg, is worth. >> what does it mean to you to be a billionaire right now? >> well, i'm not. the company's a private company
so i don't really have access to any money like that. >> reporter: he says, i don't really have money like that. >> he says, he's worth $10 billion at least, no doubt about it. >> reporter: the new deal is a sign facebook is inching closer to going public, a move diane asked zuckerberg about last july. >> ipo next year? >> when it makes sense. at some point along that path. >> reporter: long before it does, facebook is already worth more than blue chip boeing, making planes for decades. worth more than ebay and yahoo!. how much pocket? how much income? >> we're not going to answer that question. it's the advantage of being a private company. >> reporter: want to give us a hint? >> no. >> reporter: he didn't want to give a hint but he'll have to at some point. >> will have to show a little more leg. >> reporter: a little more leg. one way of putting it. when facebook goes public. two, if the numbers are leaked beforehand. or lastly if the number of these private investors beforehand
actually surpasses 500. that's when the sec steps in, diane. which is why goldman's putting all these investors together as one investor so they don't surpass that number. >> everybody leaning in. happy new year to you. still ahead on "world news," the mystery of the birds. why did 5,000 of them simply fall out of the sky? and 80 years ago, the brightest minds of the time imagined life in 2011. were they right? ready sensei.
there is a full-blown csi investigation under way in a small arkansas town tonight. a town blanketed by 5,000 blackbirds appear to have fallen out of the sky on new year's eve. erin hayes is tracking this mystery. >> reporter: blackbirds, thousands of them, rained from the sky over this little town, crashing on to homes and cars and front lawns. >> thought the mayor was messing with me when he called me. he got me up at 4:00 in the morning, told me he had birds falling out of the sky. >> the police department, told them i was, like, not drunk, not on drugs, and she immediately said, oh, you're calling about the birds. i was like, yeah. >> just a black swirl. the ones that weren't high enough were catching the trees and the house, the mailboxes, my
son's basketball goal, everything. >> reporter: why did the birds go berserk? no one's sure yet. state officials are investigating. they don't think the birds were poisoned. aside from that, there are plenty of theorys. >> oh, everybody has a theory. >> the main question is what were they doing in the air at that time of night? >> reporter: some think they were startled by fireworks that night. a few think maybe the city was just trying to get rid of them. it was certainly unnatural behavior for blackbirds to fly in the dead of the night. >> most of these birds don't see any better at night than you or i do. they aren't adapted to see at night like owls. so if they went off from their perches at night, they're blind in the darkness just like you would be. >> reporter: it is a mystery but it's also a reality. something very strange definitely happened here. and until there's an answer, folks are left wondering, what do they tell their kids? >> i wouldn't let them go outside right now. we don't know exactly what the explanation is on the birds being out here.
but i ain't gonna take no chances. >> reporter: it was a strange night, truly. like something from a movie. hitchco hitchcock's "the birds" comes to mind. not a pleasant thing to see over your house. >> sounded like somebody knocking on the door and, he went and opened the door. one of the birds actually tried to fly into his house, into him. >> reporter: there is precedent for this. flocks of birds have fallen from the sky in other places before. for some, there were logical explanations. lightning hit them. or they were killed by a burst of hail. there was no lightning and no hail the night the birds fell from the sky here. it was a calm, cool night. adding to the mystery today, word from louisiana this afternoon that wildlife officials have discovered dead blackbirds there, hundreds of them, along the streets and roadways. wildlife teams have been out collecting those birds. they'll take them back to the lab to analyze and try to figure out what killed those birds and
they'll compare notes with arkansas officials to figure out what all this means, diane. >> erin, thank you. we need a sherlock tonight. we'll keep everyone posted at home. coming up, do you recognize him? has the world just lost the greatest actor ever? so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now, i've got the leading part. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. if you're still having difficulty breathing,
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newly elected governors are being sworn in but it was political deja vu as jerry brown was sworn in as governor of california again, 36 years after he became the state's youngest governor since the 1850s. he repeated the oath as its oldest. >> without any mental reservation -- really no mental reservation. >> in the audience was outgoing california governor arnold schwarzenegger who hasn't ruled out writing a book. >> i have a real story here to tell about my going from body building, going to business, going to movie business and the show business career, then doing the political arena and all this. so there's a whole interesting thing that i maybe have to say. and also tonight, you may
not know the name but you know that face. steven spielberg once called him the best actor in the world. pete prostlethwaite was known for playing kubayshi in "the usual suspects." "in the name of the father" earned him an oscar nod. he planned to become a priest, then turned to acting. he died after a battle with cancer. he was 64. and coming up, we crack open the time capsule. what did people long ago predict? as a manager, my team counts on me to stay focused.
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on this first day back at work in the new year, a question, are these our modern lives, what people decades ago in another time imagined they would be? john berman puts 2011 to the test. >> reporter: in some ways, the future is now. we all chat in our "star trek" communicators. and "survivor" isn't that different from "running man." predicting the future isn't always so easy not even for geniuses. in 1931 "the new york times" asked a group of the world's great thinkers to predict what life would be like in 2011. now, w.j. mayo, a founder of the
mayo clinic, predicted our life expectancy, 59 years in 1931, would reach the biblical term of three-score and ten, 70. the reality, life expectancy in the u.s. is now nearly 78. at a time when 35% of american homes were still heated by wood, willis whitney, who founded the research lab at general electric, predicted by 2011, you would live in an electrically heated, air conditioned home. he also added there would be an attached air car hangar. not quite. henry ford said it would make 1931 seem drab. well, this was the new york skyline then. and now. then they had little orphan annie on the radio. we have "jersey shore." sociologist william ogburn got the closest. he predicted the magic of remote control will be commonplace and the lives of women will be more
like those of men, spent outside the home. in 1931, less than a quarter of women were in the working force. now it's nearly 60%. so what about 80 years from now? what will that be like? will we finally be able to beam like "star trek?" well, we might not have to. >> our mode of transportation will largely be virtual and people will go to each other without moving from wherever they are. >> reporter: something to think about. john berman, abc news, new york, or paris, or tahiti. >> and we put some predictions on our website. abcnews.c abcnews.com/world news. check them. keep us honest through the year. hope it's a great year for you.